I built this computer to be my personal desktop. It’s a replacement for my Dell Inspiron 8600 notebook, which has been my main computer for the last six years. As a Dell customer for 16 years (I bought my first Dell desktop and my first Dell laptop in 1994), I was all ready to replace the I8600 with a new top-of-the-line Dell notebook. I placed my order and called them to clarify and tweak some points.
Unfortunately, Dell changed their practices regarding Operating System disks, and joined the rest of the industry in supplying only recovery DVD’s — or making you make your own recovery DVD’s. They thoroughly aggravated me with this change and how they treated it the ordering process — and have lost a customer. That cost them the sale of a top of the line Studio XPS 16 notebook and a top of the line Alienware M11x notebook to be purchased a couple months later.
I looked at alternative notebooks, and then broadened my horizons a bit. As a result, I’ve now built a desktop to replace the old Dell notebook. The wireless keyboard, wireless mouse and LCD monitor will sit on the laptop stand that I will continue to use in my den.
For my mobile needs, I’ve ordered a fast, much cheaper notebook from someone else. More about that notebook in a future issue.
So, let’s take a look at the components of the new desktop…
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window
I chose this case for its extreme ease in building the PC — the inexpensive price was a real surprise. There’s lots of room and is almost a tool-less installation, not even screws for hard drives or for two optical drives.
I had to use 4 screws (included) to mount the power supply — but there’s also a mounting strap that holds the power supply into place. The motherboard mounts into place with thumbscrews (included). The hard drives mount into removable trays using nicely-designed plastic clips.
The optical drives (up to 2 will mount this way) use a side lever that simply unclips, swings to the left, you line up the drive, swing the lever back towards the front, and click into place. PCI and PCI-E cards are held into place by a metal lever-based system (not screws and not the typical easily-breakable plastic card mounting system).
I bought a Lian Li case for my home theater PC that has a lot more room, and is all aluminum, but it was over 100% higher in price. There is an aluminum version of this case, with a different exterior, marketed under the Lian Li name, rather than under the Lancool name, which was about 50% more.
Did I like the case? YES! I’m tempted to buy another just to replace the case in my wife’s new desktop — this is a much better case. That one is OK, though, so I’m resisting the temptation…
See more details on this case in the article A Look at the Lancool PC-K58W Dragonlord Case;